Monday, February 21, 2011

The Dragon Speech

This weekend I discovered the "Dragon Speech" by Chris Crawford and found it really great. He brings up a lot of good stuff, and touches on many subjects that I have ranted about. You can watch it here:

Part 1 "The Dream Well"

Part 2 "Interactivity"
Part 3 "Genesis of Art"
Part 4 "Characters"
Part 5 "Charge!"

I am actually a bit embarrassed that I never seen this talk before. I have heard about it, but never thought much about it and thinking it was not worth any attention. Now that I have seen it, I can say that is definitely not the case and it is one of the best things I've heard/seen on games.

Which brings me to another point: This talk is almost twenty years old and yet not much have changed. The points he bring up on focus on "fun" and serving a hardcore market are all still very valid. Also, characters in games have evolved very little, in fact, apart from a few IF games like Galatea, not much has happened since Monkey Island days. It feels like his views were ignored by most people in the industry. (If anybody has sources on what kind of impact it had on other people at the time, I would be really happy to hear about it!)

I like to think that things are shaping up a bit though. For instance, players and media have started to accept that games does not have to just about "fun", but can be about other type of emotions as well. (Something I like to think the horror games of the last ten years or so as had a part in). We are also starting to see the first step at a merge between the "casual" and "hardcore" market*, with games such as Drawn, which I see as the beginning of a less specialized market. The situation is far from good, but at least there are some sources of light.

Another thing of interest is that Chris Crawford has never made a conventional games since he held this speech. Right now he seems to be involved in something called Storytron, which I have to admit I do not know much about and have never tried. Now I feel I really must give it a go though! If anyone has tried it, I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts about it.

Finally, I also recently heard that Chris will be giving a speech at GDC this year. So will definitely try to attend that (me and Jens will be going there because of IGF and all).

*I do not like the names casual and hardcore. because they compartmentalize the audience far too much and I also think it is a bad way at looking at things (either you like to shoot stuff or play simple puzzles!!!). But since I refer to a trend in the industry I thought it was kinda okay to to use them.